ASHEVILLE, NC – Today Liberty Counsel argues in court that state magistrates should be permitted to intervene to defend their religious liberty, which is being challenged in the case of Ansley v. Warren.Liberty Counsel represents, among others, Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner, who has an excellent record during her 10 years of service as a magistrate, and who seeks a religious opt out of performing “marriages” for same-sex couples.
In 2015, Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of magistrates seeking accommodation for their religious convictions regarding same-sex “marriage.” The state house and senate passed SB 2 granting an accommodation, and both houses later overrode the Governor’s veto. Liberty Counsel dismissed its suit in light of the new law. But then the new law was challenged by those who want to force magistrates to violate their religious convictions and consciences.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is legally responsible to defend state law, has made public statements against SB 2 and has even made vetoing it a part of his campaign platform in his candidacy for governor. SB 2 states: “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based upon any sincerely held religious objection.” Liberty Counsel has sought to intervene on behalf of the magistrates because the Attorney General will not vigorously defend the law.
“Magistrates have the constitutional right to follow their conscience without fear of punishment,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The suit against a law that provides accommodation to those with religious objections reveals the intolerant side of the LGBT agenda. This agenda seeks to steamroll over the conscience of everyone who believes in natural marriage. We believe the magistrates need a vigorous defense and the Attorney General has shown he is not willing to provide that defense,” said Staver
Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.